Ever forget to bring a cable or extra strings to practice? Batteries? Tubes? Well hopefully one of your bandmates has your back or practice is over. It’s an inconvenience when this happens at practice, but it’s a disaster if it happens at a gig. Some bar owners will rightfully dock you for time lost. And forget about getting asked back…
To save face (and gig money), be prepared. Have a “trick bag” ready. You can use an old gym bag or backpack to store gig essentials. Just keep it small. Here’s a checklist of things that you should have in it:
Duct tape– Jet tape, Quack tape, wonder tool, marital aid-whatever you call it; you gotta bring it. The silver stuff is great for holding down treacherous cables and wind-blown setlists as well as mending straps and broken mic clips. This silver is worth its weight in gold at a gig.
Instrument, speaker, and MIDI cables– Packing 2-3 extra instrument and/or MIDI cables is always a good idea. If you have a pedalboard, you might want to include a couple of patch cables.
Guitar Picks– If you use picks it’s reassuring to know that you have plenty on hand to flick at the bass player.
Extra strings– strings are like postal workers- they can snap at any time. So ALWAYS carry at least 2 complete sets of strings with you. Even if you have a backup guitar.
Miscellaneous– Do you use a music/guitar stand, capo, slide, Ebow, etc.? Also, remember to bring a few extra mic clips and a drum key.
Basic Tools– Screwdrivers, pliers, string winder, Allen wrenches, etc.
Power strips, power cables, and Extension cords– You can’t play power chords without power and…uh…cords. Ensure that your cords are long enough to draw power from all over the stage. A big orange extension cord with a power strip attached should get you through any gig.
Batteries and Adapters– Effects pedals, tuners, and wireless units are just some of the electronic toys we carry to shows. And they all need a power source. Bring spare power supplies when possible or at least bring appropriate-sized batteries for backups.
Electrical Parts– Don’t forget about your amps! Tubes and fuses can save the day. Be sure to carry components that match the manufacturer’s specifications.
a CLEAN change of clothes– be proactive in preventing “wardrobe malfunctions”.(It happens…). And changing out of sweaty stage clothes does wonders for your post-show social life.
Ideally, every band member should have their own “trick bag”.